On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts host the Miami Dolphins in a battle of 1-0 teams. In week 1, the Colts beat the Oakland Raiders 21-17 while the Dolphins beat the Cleveland Browns 23-10. Most odds makers have the Colts as an early 2 ½ point favorite.
In week 1, the Dolphins defensive line overpowered the Browns offensive line, sacking Brandon Weeden 6 times while causing 1 fumble. The Dolphins secondary also picked off 3 Weeden passes, holding the Browns to just 5.5 yards per pass. The Browns ran the ball a little bit better as Trent Richardson rushed for 47 yards on 13 carries (3.6 yards per carry). The Browns seemed to abandon the run after some early success – similar to how the Colts moved away from the run against the Raiders.
On offense, Ryan Tannehill did a nice job moving the ball down the field as he completed 24 of 38 passes for 272 yards (7.2 yards per pass). He was intercepted once and sacked 3 times. The Dolphins could get absolutely nothing going on the ground. As a team, the Dolphins carried the ball 23 times for an astoundingly poor 20 yards (.9 yards per carry!)
The Colts defense gave up 171 yards on the ground which would normally concern me (tremendously). However, 112 yards came on the feet of Terrell Pryor. We didn’t do a good job containing him – in my mind poor coaching. We were able to stop the more traditional run as Darren McFadden was held to just 48 yards on 17 carries (2.8 yards per rush). While Terrell Pryor passed for another 217 yards, 41 of them came late in the game when the Colts clearly made a mental mistake by failing to cover tight end Jeron Mastrud on a 41 yard reception . if you take away this reception, the Colts only yielded 176 yards through the air (6.1 yards per pass) which is respectable. We also picked off 2 Pryor passes.
On offense, I felt we ran the ball effectively. Vick Ballard ran the ball for 63 yards on 13 carries (4.8 yards per carry) and, as a team, we ran the ball for 127 yards on 26 carries (4.9 yards per carry). Luck was also sharp through the air completing 18 of his 23 passes for 178 yards (7.7 yards per attempt).
It appears this battle will come down to defensive lines. Can the Colts defensive line continue to cripple the Dolphins running game? Tannehill is not as versatile as Pryor so the Colts should have a shot at some sacks. On the other hand, the Dolphins defensive line is matched up against a very questionable Colts offensive line. We can’t afford the Dolphins defense to get to Luck (for many reasons).
While I think both offenses are good, I definitely give the edge to the Colts as they have more playmakers. I also feel the Colts secondary is better than the Dolphins secondary. As such, while the game will be fought at the line, I think the Colts other units carry an edge that will give them the victory.
No formal predictions yet – just a quick “first look”.